Why you need to add the Plitvice lakes to your Bucket list!
Not only are the Plitvice lakes the biggest national park of Croatia (nearly 300 km2), but also the oldest one in Southeastern Europe. Once you enter this amazing park you never want to leave! The lakes are divided in the upper and lower lakes, both are amazing. The water is crystal clear, the paths are mostly made of wood and the many waterfalls are worth every picture you take. The flora and fauna is very interesting and it is said that there are still bears and wolves in the national park.
When to go?
The Plitvice lakes became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1979 and are no longer a secret destination. Therefore it is often overcrowded in summer. I went during October, which had the advantage that there were fewer people. You can enjoy the many viewpoints and walk slowly on the wooden paths with the chance to stop for pictures whenever you want. Plus, the colours of the trees were amazing by this time! I can imagine that winter and early spring are also a good time to visit with fewer visitors.
Which path to follow?
Definitely the K1. It covers the upper and lower lakes, all the main waterfalls and most of the viewpoints. It takes about 6-8 hours, but it is easy to walk (still you should wear hiking shoes as the path sometimes runs through the forest).Of course there are shorter hikes but most of them only cover the upper OR the lower lakes.
The entrance fee is 110 Kunas (15€). The ferries which you need to take to the upper and lower lakes is included in the price. There are two entrances to the park, which are connected by buses. So you can take a hike from one entrance to the other and get back by bus. This is also included in the price. There are many restaurants by the entrance 2. When you arrive with the ferry to the lower lakes, there’s also a break point with a cafeteria/restaurant and information point. In the national park itself you are NOT allowed to swim, leave the path oder pick up any plant or animal.
Where to stay?
You find a lot of hotels in the surroundings of the national park. From luxury hotels to camping sites, everything is represented. I stayed at the hostel “Falling lakes” in Korenica and was very satisfied. The staff was friendly and helpful, the common room and kitchen were clean and cosy.It’s an adventure hostel which also organises a pick-up to the entrance of the park and amazing hikes in the surrounding mountains. I would have loved to stay there for a little longer.